Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney led ex-Pennsylvania US Senator Rick Santorum by little over 3% in the presidential primary held this past Tuesday in Romney’s native state of Michigan.
Only thirty delegates were at stake in the Wolverine State contest because it held its primary prior to the first Tuesday in March date laid out in the RNC primary/caucus rules.
Of the state’s thirty delegates, twenty-eight were to be decided in Michigan’s fourteen congressional districts and the two remaining delegates would be proportionally assigned according to the statewide results.
The media widely reported this system for awarding delegates. Nobody from the Michigan Republican Party murmured anything differently. In fact, the chairman of the Michigan Republican Party said as much in an interview with NBC on February 8th.
Granted it’s hard to slice “two big ones”, but as Romney garnered 41% and Santorum received 38%, it was obviously they would each receive one of the two at-large delegates.
And as both carried seven congressional districts, Romney and Santorum would leave Michigan with the same number of delegates.
Though he fell short against Romney in the statewide popular vote, the even-delegate split allowed Santorum to boast he got a win in Michigan.
But alas, there was a fine print clause worthy of Gene Wilder’s infamous contract from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.
Print so fine that none of the candidates even saw it. Because it wasn’t there.
On a conference call conducted after the primary, the Michigan GOP executive committee voted 4-2 to award Romney both of the state’s two at-large delegates.
On his blog, Michigan Republican National Committeeman/Romney shill Saul Anuzis defended the state party executive committee’s action, citing e-mail traffic, as reflecting the will of the state GOP.
Unfortunately such will was not reflected on the state primary memo sent to the presidential candidates.
Or to quote Wilder/Wonka, “fax mentis incendium Gloria cultum et cetera et cetera memo bis punitor delicatum!”
It’s patently clear why this came about- Santorum’s claims of a strategic victory in Michigan on the eve of Super Tuesday has grated the Romney camp and in a brazen attempt to end such talk they yanked away a Santorum delegate and gave it to Romney to ensure he had a “free and clear” Michigan victory.
To rub salt on Santorum’s wound via a pathetic compensatory move, the Michigan GOP voted to give the aggrieved party 14 non-voting delegates to Romney’s 12 non-voting delegates.
Makes one wonder if Saul Alinsky isn’t pulling the levers at the Michigan GOP, though not all Michigan Republican leaders were pleased with the move including a former attorney general who supported Romney in the primary but voted for abiding by the system as was explained to the candidates and promulgated by the media.
While Romney’s cronies in the Michigan Republican Party might be pleased that their shenanigans has deprived Santorum of a minor talking point, let me share with Anuzis and Company a few other talking points that will be born from this abortion:
1) The Republican Party will stop at nothing to stop an authentic conservative from winning the presidential primary, including manipulating the rules before hand to aid Romney and now after the fact. Florida and Arizona’s illegal “winner take all” systems flout the national party rules yet the RNC has done next to nothing to correct the illegitimate over-allocation of delegates to Romney.
The Republican Party is incapable of conducting a proper election. It’s bad enough the Democrats are already going back to screaming how the 2000 presidential election was stolen (the Pennsylvania Democrats have been running web ads that say as much) but to provide them with fresh evidence of chicanery by Republicans that will only be served right back at us in the general election is political suicide. There have been vote-counting controversies in Iowa and Nevada already. Now you can add the Michigan GOP’s fuzzy rules to the indictment sheet. It’s the equivalent of running political ammo to the Left even if those aligned with Romney are trying to employ the same tactics Hillary Clinton’s machine used in a desperate attempt to deny Barack Obama the Democratic nomination.
And if this is how the Republican Party in Michigan operates, then we should be grateful Anuzis, who also supports the concept of a national popular vote for the presidency, was not elected chairman of the Republican National Committee when he ran for the post in 2008.
God willing neither Anuzis’s ambition for national party leadership or his desire to see the Electoral College abolished will be attained.